Yes, I know Batman Vs Superman has come out this week, but seeing how there’s not much to talk about in regard to the DC Cinematic Universe, I’ve decided to talk Marvel again. Now, I love DC and I prefer it overall, and The Dark Knight is a really really awesome movie. But honestly, while I love the look of Batman and Wonder Woman in Batman vs Superman, I can’t really look forward to the movie as much as Civil War, as I know nothing about the conflict happening in BvS from a character level, while Iron Man and Captain America are established characters, so the conflict is organic. Also, Black Panther.
So now I’ve decided to talk my favourite films from Marvel Studios, having seen all twelve movies-
I called this one of my favourite movies a while back (a list which I need to severely update) and while I don’t think it’s the best movie ever (that would be Return of the King) or my favourite MCU movie (that’s coming up) I still really really like this movie a lot. I love Asgard and I love all the creatures, from the frost beasts to the Destroyer. My favourite aspect of the movie is the simultaneous character growth of Thor and Loki. While Thor is learning humility, Loki is falling apart as his plan to gain Odin’s trust is failing. Loki is easily the best villain in the MCU and he steals every scene he’s in. While there isn’t much action, the character growth of this movie stops it from being boring.
As for The Dark World, while it’s hilarious and very entertaining, it really isn’t as complex as the first film. The action is better and the use of London is awesome, but the villain is weak (one does not simply waste the Doctor as a villain) and the script hasn’t got much substance. I’m hoping Thor: Ragnarok can combine the action of The Dark World with the character building and themes of the first film.
- Iron Man 3
I loved the first Iron Man, but in my mind, Iron Man 3 is slightly better. It’s funnier, more action-packed and does an excellent job of wrapping up the themes of the trilogy. Using the fragile nature of the suits is a great visual metaphor for Tony Stark’s instability after the Avengers and how he is determined to protect the Earth at all costs, yet his state of mind makes him unable to focus clearly on building the Iron Man suits. The action is also great, with the skydiving sequence in the middle of the film being one of my favourite action scenes in the MCU.
I also enjoy the fact that Tony’s detective skills come into play here. While I know Iron Man is barely in the movie, the point of the movie was that it’s not the suits who define Iron Man- Tony Stark is Iron Man, suit or no suit. The suit is just a way to protect himself from harm and a way to hide his fears and emotional turmoil.
As for the controversial twist concerning the Mandarin, it didn’t bother me. Maybe it’s because I don’t read Iron Man comics but also because my knowledge of the Mandarin character from the comics is that he is kind of bland, a one dimensional bad guy for Iron Man to fight. I loved the modern retelling of the character- a figurehead used by Killian to install fear and panic, similar to the way Tony uses the suits to install hope. This was far better than just another physical tough guy.
- Guardians of the Galaxy
If my knowledge of Iron Man from the comics isn’t great, my knowledge of Guardians of the Galaxy is even worse. No one had heard of these characters before this movie, and it shows that Marvel Studios can do anything. While DC have only just started making a Wonder Woman solo movie and insist on making their movies all dark, moody and with no jokes (which works for Batman but not Superman), Marvel make a movie about a talking raccoon and a tree who is able to have emotion despite only saying one sentence through most of the movie.
This movie is just so fun and imaginative. The characters aren’t heroes- they’re conmen, bandits and criminals. However, one thing binds them together- they need to stop Ronan from using one of the Infinity Gems to destroy Xandar. The characters are all well developed and very likeable, despite not being heroes. My favourite character is of course Groot, who manages to be one of the most profound characters. His interactions with the rest of the characters are very funny, with Rocket being the sarcastic, witty counterpart to Groot’s loveable persona. I actually find Ronan to be quite a good villain. He’s not Loki, but he is still a threat, unlike Malekith.
Not to mention, the film is so funny, yet very thematically rich. The whole movie is about letting go of the past and looking to the future, with the characters all filling in that common theme. I simply cannot wait for the second movie and how this team will link in with the Avengers.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
Yes, this movie has flaws. Thor is pushed to the side, Ultron could have been more like his harsh robotic comic book counterpart and there is a lot of set up for future movies. But ultimately, I find this movie more entertaining and thematically fufilling than the first film. I like the Avengers a lot, but it is ultimately set up for the other movies, albeit really entertaining set up. Age of Ultron needs no set up- most characters have been introduced and the dynamics are established, meaning the story can be told without needing as much exposition.
I really liked Black Widow, Hulk and Hawkeye in this film. I’m not a big Hulk fan, but watching the Hulkbuster fight him was a huge nerd moment, and the Hulk did get some much needed development in this film, as did Black Widow and Hawkeye. Hawkeye in particular became one of my favourite Marvel characters, with his quips, awesome costume and sense of humour really helping to even the tone. All the characters, except for Thor, were used well, which is surprising seeing how many characters there are.
This movie is all about legacy and how people will remember the Avengers. At the end of the first film, they were seen as heroes. At the end of Age of Ultron, they are seen as a more powerful and dangerous threat to the world, which is something I’m sure Civil War will expand upon. Incidentally, I’m Team Cap. I know Iron Man has Black Panther, Vision and Spider-Man, but I just prefer Captain America. It’s great that both sides are portrayed equally.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
My favourite Marvel Studios movie is the most serious, action packed and complex one yet, with a tone I hope Civil War will have. I love the banter of the Avengers, but the gritty espionage thriller is suitable for Captain America. Before this movie, I didn’t care for the character much, and I watched the movie out of interest to see if I would like him. Turns out I did like him- a lot. He is now one of my favourite Marvel heroes.
Aside from the amazing action, the best part of this movie is the subtext. Captain America is a propaganda symbol stuck in a world with conspiracy, violence and a lack of a strong icon. Now he is forced to confront a system he used to trust which is now turning on him, as well as literally fighting the past in the form of his former friend, now the Winter Soldier. Like Iron Man 3, Captain America doesn’t suit up much, but when he does, it’s fantastic.
Everything about this movie works. The villains are great and the fact that SHIELD was infiltrated by HYDRA means it makes perfect sense for Captain America to be against being controlled in Civil War. I love how Cap and Black Widow team up and how there’s no romance between them. It also has the best Stan Lee cameo ever.
So those are my five favourite Marvel Studios movies. I cannot wait for Civil War or Doctor Strange, and with Spider-Man, Black Panther and Captain Marvel joining the ranks of the Avengers as well, I yearn for more of this universe and the brilliant characters it has created.